Mycosis Fungoides is More than a Rash… It’s a Blood Cancer

When I first heard the term “mycosis fungoides,” I immediately thought it was a condition related to some type of fungal infection. Boy, was I wrong! It’s actually a slow growing form of T-cell lymphoma that manifests on the skin.

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About 20% of patients develop an itchy rash, while the other 80% have a rash to some degree that doesn’t itch. What causes it remains unknown, but it’s not transmittable from person-to-person, and genetics are not thought to be a factor.

Getting a correct diagnosis can be difficult because the rash resembles eczema or psoriasis. However, a biopsy usually uncovers the exact stage of this common blood cancer. It’s very rare for a person under 20 years old to develop mycosis fungoides. Instead, the average age of diagnosis is between 45 and 55 years old; and, it’s more common among men than women.

Despite the symptomatic rash, the cancer cells are not in the epidermis, but rather in the blood. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the case. Ultraviolet light, sunlight, and topical corticosteroids are common treatments, and is very successful in driving the disease into remission. More severe cases can require oral or intravenous chemotherapy. Intravenous steroid treatments are indicated and can be very effective.

If you have mycosis fungoides and would like to find a support group, visit MD Junction by clicking here.

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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